Is Technology Healthy For Kids? Facebook, Texting and IPHONES Oh My.

Video Games, text messaging, posting to someones WALL, ordering food online, becoming an online "fan" of Jamba juice, customizing my homepage....there is a plethora of ways that new technologies interact-with, and affect our daily lives. Adults seem to be catching on and catching up just fine--sometimes with a few major hesitations in tow-- but how will the technology boom in society affect our kids? Specifically, how does technology affect our kids health and wellness? Read on for my personal views on this controversial topic.


One of the most controversial topics that parents seem to discuss is regarding social networking sites like FACEBOOK, MySpace and Twitter. Teens have embraced these sites with the full force of their passionate adolescent vigor. They shamelessly post photos, quotes, likes and dislikes and share details about their lives that were once considered private such as religion, political views and even weekend plans. But I have been here before. Its the pro-facebook vs. anti-facebook debate. It used to be the pro-cell phone vs. anti-cell phone crowd. Now everyone on the block has a cell phone--kids included.

Facebook, when used WISELY is a great productivity tool to keep in touch with loved ones and friends as well as the world. Charity events, political news and even product/news updates from your favorite brands and personalities (Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Michael Phelps, McCain and Obama) are all made available on FACEBOOK. Kids and adults can grow their friendships while experiencing a personal sense of declaration about ones self. Much like the Trapper Keeper notebook covers of the late 1980's. I was a blue-raindrops girl myself, while my best friend Sarah had a cute kitty with a pink background. There was also the unicorn/rainbow cover and your choice of Care Bears, My Little Pony or my personal favorite, Rainbow Bright. The guys had their choice of red ferrari cars, HeMan or transformers or even traditional superhero characters. Well today's youth can express themselves in a much more complex manner. This can be dangerous if they are not first instructed on the proper social networking etiquette and parental-defined guidelines regarding privacy. Parents can law down their own rules for what is acceptable and not to post. Kids must be taught to be cautious. It has been widely known that employers and college admissions officers will almost always google their young candidates--even rejecting some individuals based on those wild weekend photos that they posted "just for fun".

Another note about FACEBOOK. It can be addictive. Like video games and television. A parent must teach their child to practice self-restraint and only engage in such activities AFTER all thier essential school and housework is done. Its all about the PRIORITIES of the individual. And keeping on top of your work and keeping yourself healthy should be above internet usage.


A recent research study concluded that teens age 13-17 averaged around 1800 text messages per month. While the average person text messages around 357 times a month. Shockingly, the 12 and under age bracket averages MORE texts (about 428 a month) than their 25-34 year-old counterparts--who average 331 per month.

What does this mean for our kids health? Text messaging is relatively harmless to ones health--in fact in my opinion, it frees up time for healthy activities such as sports and cooking! Instead of getting on the computer and spending hours INDOORS writing emails and browsing the web, a child can feel free to run and play outside--parents and friends are all just a text message away if need be! Heck, kids can text message from the beach, a soccer game, the Gatorade cooler at a track meet, a farmers market, a yoga class (before class) or even a mountaintop (if you can get service!)

I am a huge fan of text messaging. It keeps me away from my computer, yet doesn't give me that "I'm out of reach" feeling I used to get when I would try and turn off my cell phone!


Big fan. Cell phones are really not just phones anymore are they? They keep our emails, a few photos, connect us to maps and directions, passwords, friends, they store our music and help keep us safe in an emergency. The future of cell phones for health is WIDE and VAST.

Imagine the possibilities.....picture yourself downloading a widget which allows your child to track everything they eat and the amount of exercise they do all day. You could then at the end of the month download all the information onto your computer and discuss your child's wellness. It just may be the QuickBooks for the health-minded. Cell phones also allow us to google the nutritional data on foods we order in restaurants. Cell phones can even come along with us on our workouts and track our calories, MPH and time. And in an emergency--aka a stressful day has somehow allowed you to drive to your local Baskin Robbins or Dunkin Donuts with $20 cash in-hand and an empty tummy--your cell phone can SAVE YOU! Simply call a friend and meet them for a Acai Smoothie at Jamba Juice. Or a Pumpkin Spice Latte (no whip!) at Starbucks.


Overall, I do not think that we should fear how technology will affect our health. Unless you stay inside all day updating your WALL and STATUS 25 times a day--I do not think you should feel guilty to indulge in a good hour to half hour a day of FACEBOOK, LinkedIn, social-networking time. And parents, remember--teens will be teens--and if your ban social networking from their life--you can rest assured that they will find a way around you. Parents DO have an upper edge nowadays--they can GPS their kids! But remember that trusting your kids is the first step to a HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. And trust begins with proper communication and education on topics from the internet, healthy eating, peer pressure and more.

Like any controversial topic in parenting--communication is key. Ensuring the mental and physical health of your child or teen may be only a twenty minute conversation away. So take the time to talk--face to face....and no-- not with FACEBOOK faces.....


Put Some FRUIT in your FOOD!

It's a tomato. It's an onion. It's some lettuce. A slab of cheese. .....BORING!

Kids are missing out on some major nutritional benefits when their diet misses out on FRUIT! Usually fruit is eaten as a sideline food. While veggies are used in recipes. Well here are a few very simple ideas to dress up your FOOD with sweet healthy FRUIT!

....PS .... Can you guess what fruit is in the sandwich pictured here???? Read on to find out! ....its a PEACH!!!


Here are a few more ideas:

1. Peachie Cream sandwich (pictured)
-thinly sliced peaches
-tofu or regular cream cheese
-thick sliced red onions soaked in olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper
-crunchy green lettuce leaves
-toasted bialy or bagel.
(stack as a sandwich and enjoy!

2. California-Sweet Burrito
-black beans
-avocado or guacamole
-mandarin oranges
-mango , diced
-green cabbage, shredded
-salsa on side
-burrito tortilla, whole wheat pref'd
(fill tortilla with ingredients, roll and enjoy!)

3. Little Lost Grape Citrus Salad
-sliced grapes, green and red
-diced oranges
-thinly sliced vidalia onions
-thinly sliced green apples, soak in olive oil and black pepper
-spritz of lemon juice
-2 cups arugula
-oil/rice vinegar dressing
(toss well and serve)

4. Cheesy apple-pear Quesadilla
-thinly sliced apples and pears
-mozzarella or veggie cheese
-corn or flour tortillas
(melt cheese on tortillas, in saute pan. Remove from skillet and quickly layer with fruit. Place second tortilla on top. Re-saute both sides for 30 seconds. Do not over heat fruit.)

5. Good Morning Opera Singing Kiwi Cup
-sliced kiwis'
-plain or vanilla yogurt
-handful of your favorite nuts
(Kiwis taste great in yogurt.... and are high in vitamin C!)

6. Pineapple Maui Onion Veggie Burgers!
This one is a classic. Making your favorite burgers? Simply add a thick vidalia onion as well as a thick slice of pineapple. You can also add another layer of mango or peaches to the burger. If you can open your mouth wide enough---stack it high!!)

...These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Try being creative with FRUIT in your FOOD and your kids (big and small) will adore the sweet tastes you feed them!!!



Whole Foods Market Stovetop Storytime: SOLD OUT!

Here are a few photos from the first Stovetop Storytime at Whole Foods Bowery in New York City. My second date of Oct 2nd has been sold out for a while, but hopefully I will have more dates in the future! Blog readers will be the first to know! And here are a few more photos of the event. These first two classes were readings of On the Case: Super Senses! and The Wiggle Jiggle Book.

See the class listings for the Whole Foods Market Culinary Center here:


AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT: The Wiggle Jiggle Book Wins Honorable Mention at 2008 Hollywood Book Festival

I am excited to announce that The Wiggle Jiggle Book won an Honorable mention in the Children's book category at the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival!

Each year the Hollywood Book Festival draws over 30,000 attendees.

See the announcement of The Lunchbox Bunch win here:

About the festival:

Copies of The Wiggle Jiggle Book will be available for purchase soon on out website!! Check back or email us for the official on-sale announcement.

The daytime festival for the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival will be held at The Grove at Farmers Market, the premiere shopping, entertainment and dining destination in the heart of Hollywood.  The event will be presented in conjunction with Barnes & Noble Booksellers. 
The days activities include author readings, celebrity book signings, panels on the Hollywood/book publishing connection, live music, clowns doing face painting and balloon animals, and all the energy that’s part of a major entertainment event.  
With over 30,000 attendees expected, the Hollywood Book Festival offers extraordinary opportunities for book publishers and authors to reach an active, affluent and educated audience that’s eagerly looking for something to read on vacation!  Please contact us at or call 323-665-8080 to obtain an exhibitor’s form

• 10:00 a.m. Vendor area opens, festival begins
• 10:30 a.m. Los Solecitos meet and greet
• 11:00 a.m. *** Best-selling author Christina Schwarz, author of "Drowning Ruth," reading from her new novel, "So Long At The Fair";
• 11:30 a.m. HBF Winner
• 12:00 noon Rocker Richard Barone, former leader of the Bongos and author of "Frontman: Surviving The Rock Star Myth," with a music performance accompanied by a reading from "Three's Company" actress Joyce DeWitt;
• 12:30 p.m. HBF Grand Prize Winner
• 1:00 p.m. *** Sex and the City actor Evan Handler, who will read from his new work, "It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive";
• 1:30 pm.. *** Terri Cheney, an entertainment attorney whose clients included Michael Jackson, Quincy, Jones, Universal and Columbia, reading from Manic, her account of severe depression
• 2:00 p.m. Music: Ice Age Jazztet
• 2:30 p.m. Emmy-award winning Disney cartoon writer/producer Jess Winfield, reading from his novel, "My Name Is Will";
• 3:00 p.m. ** PANEL DISCUSSION: Writing About Hollywood, With and Without Cooperation. Panelists include Mike Walker of the National Enquirer and author of Get Real; Henrietta Tiefenthaler, author of the Anna Nicole Smith tell-all Train Wreck; Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna, author of Eyewitness Nirvana and a former People magazine writer; and Eric Dubin, celebrity attorney and author of The Star Chamber. Panel will be moderated by former Hollywood Reporter editor-in-chief Alex Ben Block, author of "Outfoxed: The Inside Story of America's Fourth Television Network" and "The Legend of Bruce Lee"
• 4:00 p.m. Entertainment writer David Rensin, reading from his new biography, All For A Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora, who ruled the Malibu surf crowd in the 50s and 60s.
• 4:30 p.m. HBF Winner
• 5:00 p.m. Actress Heather Thomas, reading from her new novel, Trophies
• 5:30 p.m. Music: Liz Nash


LOS ANGELES (May 27, 2008) _ The 2008 Hollywood Book Festival has named the first celebrity appearances for its annual daytime festival celebrating books that deserve greater recognition from the film, television, game and multimedia communities.

The event will be held on Saturday, July 12 at The Grove at Farmers Market, one of the premiere entertainment, shopping and dining destinations in Hollywood. All activities are free and open to the public.

Presented in conjunction with Barnes & Noble Booksellers, the Hollywood Book Festival will feature author readings/signings, book publishing panels, live music, book vendors, clowns offering face painting and balloon animals and the bustling ambiance of the Grove's center square.

Authors scheduled to appear include:
• *** Sex and the City actor Evan Handler, who will read from his new work "It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive";
• *** Star Trek writer Leonard Mlodinow, reading from his new non-fiction work, "The Drunkard's Walk";
• *** Terri Cheney, an entertainment attorney whose clients included Michael Jackson, Quincy, Jones, Universal and Columbia, reading from “Manic,” her account of severe depression;
• *** Rocker Richard Barone, author of "Frontman: Surviving The Rock Star Myth," with a music performance accompanied by a reading from "Three's Company" actress Joyce DeWitt;
• *** Best-selling author Christina Schwarz, author of "Drowning Ruth," reading from her new novel "So Long At The Fair";
• *** Producer Jess Winfield, reading from his new work "My Name Is Will";
• *** Entertainment writer Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna, appearing in support of her new book "Cherry Bomb: The Ultimate Guide .

The Hollywood Book Festival is produced by JM Northern Media LLC, producers of the New York Book Festival and DIY Book Festival, and is sponsored by Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, The Hollywood Creative Directory, eDivvy, Westside Websites and Shopanista


Produce Prices: What's the Deal?

I just returned from an amazing visit to the San Francisco Bay area of California--where I am originally from. During my stay, I took a weekend roadtrip to Lake Tahoe for a friends party. Traveling today is expensive, but one thing that gets CHEAPER as you travel is the prices of my favorite foods... produce! Veggies and fruit prices seem to plummet as you drive out towards the farms...
Lets take a look at just how LOW they can go. AND my Whole Foods Market debate....READ ON! I had STICKER SHOCK as I roamed the aisles of my NYC Whole Foods today. $2.99 a pound for apples, $2.50 per avocado, $2.99 per pound of oranges, 50 cents for one small lime. Now the quality is amazing at my Whole Foods, but its not as farm fresh as the stands along California back country roads. A few of those prices said 39 cents a pound for apples, 5 ears of corn for $1, 2 for $1 avocados, $1 heirloom tomatos...I could go on but you get my point.

We always seem to rave over the quality of life in our big luxurious cities like New York or Boston or Los Angeles. But isn't eating healthfully and affordably a big part of ones quality of life? Now I don't suspect I will be seeing anyone pick up and leave the big cities for 39 cent/pound apples, but with the economy in a headlock right now it feels like eating healthy foods is harder than ever. Since when does one large peach cost $2.74!! (Yes I paid this much for a beautiful one...)

It seems sadly that eating at fast food restaurants might come back in style if the prices of produce don't start to drop for us city dwellers..I love having everything I want just a few blocks away, but is it worth the premium price? And is my quality of life in the higher-paying job city area really BETTER than those in farmland, USA????

All I want is the old days when farm fresh peaches were on sale for 19 cents a pound... Not $2.74 per peach......


Knish from Yonah Schimmel's in NYC!

Have you ever had a knish? I mean a homemade, all-natural, warm from the oven knish? If so, you know that a knish is....DELISH! And your mouth is already watering from the food photo of the flaky, tender and plump munchie. If not, please please read on and discover a knish, a soul-satisfying bundle of potato goodness! At only 300 calories per GIANT can you miss this food find..... (since 1910!! ...These Knishes must be the BEST!)


Made from the main ingredient POTATOES--A knish is a small round "pie" with a dough outside, stuffed with filling such as spinach, sweet potato, kasha or mushroom. A knish is about the size of a softball and VEGAN--no dairy, eggs or meat (unless specified).

Knishes can be bought warm or cold and easily heated up in the microwave or oven. One potato knish (large size) has only 300 calories--and is very filling.

My knish discovery began when I decided to research a curious little store on Houston street in NYC'S LES. I had walked by this quaint little store (right next to Sunshine Movie Theater) literally hundreds of times, but never went inside. What is a knish anyways??? I always asked myself. The window was usually full of plump little knishes-warm from the oven. But still I only scowled at the place and moved on.

Until recently I decided to research this store--Yonah Schimmels Knishes-- on

The reviews were all very high. And after researching the healthy properties of an all natural potato based knish, I decided I HAD TO TRY THIS PLACE!

So first thing Tuesday morning I was excited to see the store was open. I went inside to be greeted by a sweet man at the counter. I asked, are there any flavors that are dairy free?
He looked at me curiously..." there are NO butter, eggs, dairy in any knish." Ah perfect!! I was thrilled. I ordered a spinach and a sweet potato knish. $3 each. I got a few beverages too and was very excited. I was shocked at the heavy weight of my tiny bag.

I got home, heated a sweet potato knish in the microwave for 90 seconds and it came out warm and fluffy--the microwave really did it well.

It smelled delish! Like warm sweet potatoes--like a pot pit, without all the unhealthy stuff!!


YUM! I will definitely be adding THE KNISHERY to my list of yummy stops along the way home.....

Live in NYC? Check out the Knishery at 137 e. Houston st. Its been in business since 1910!!!

Not in the area?? Well you can actually order a dozen knishes online!

Its $85 including shipping, but trust me--I think it is worth a try. These knishes must be the best around, and if you are going to eat a knish--I am guessing it MUST be fresh and made with the highest quality ingredients--which YONAH SCHIMMEL'S DOES!!

Warm knishes...yum...

and isn't there some line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that references a KNISH?...... hmmmm